A lack of understanding and confidence regarding how to use your inhaler can lead to frustration and, eventually, non-adherence. The problem can be even worse if you're faced with using multiple, different inhalers.

Potential solutions. Get instruction from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about the correct way to use your inhaler each time one is prescribed—and don't hesitate to ask for a refresher demonstration if you need one. A recent study in the Journal of Asthma found that repeated instruction improves adherence to therapy.

For instructions on how to use a metered-dose inhaler, see How to Use an HFA Metered Dose Inhaler. Also, ask if there are any videos or web-based programs you can view to learn more.

If after repeated practice you’re still having trouble, ask your physician if the medication is available in a different type of canister that's easier for you to use. Or, it may be available in a formulation delivered through a nebulizer.

Publication Review By: Peter B. Terry, M.D., M.A.

Published: 14 Aug 2013

Last Modified: 14 Aug 2013